Welcome

Welcome to the website of the Montreal folkgrass trio Steel Rail. Strong original material, superb three-part harmonies and hot picking have helped Tod Gorr, Ellen Shizgal and Dave Clarke win a loyal fanbase in Central Canada. After almost a decade of living on opposite ends of the continent, the threesome are back together in Quebec, making new acoustic music that reflects the best of the folk, bluegrass and country traditions.

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Great to see you, Toronto friends 

It was great to see old friends and new at our concert in Toronto last night. It was a treat to be able to try out some of the new material for our upcoming album on such receptive ears, and to hear so many people singing along with old favourites like That's How the Summer Slips Away, Prairie Sky, and I'll Fly Away. (Not to mention getting into the fun of some surprise key changes and a persnickety amp.)

Special thanks to Lillian Wauthier and the terrific group of volunteers at Acoustic Harvest who made our time in the Bluffs so pleasant.  And a big shout-out to engineer/sound man/musician/mensch Jason LaPrade, who made everything sound so good. As always.

It was also a pleasure to hear a too-short opening set from the terrific Longview, Alta.,-based duo Over the Moon,  who play tight cowboy-, bluegrass- and Western swing-inflected originals and covers. Do yourself a favour and check them out if they are playing in your neighbourhood.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us Saturday night.

Making new memories in the Big Smoke, a.k.a. Toronto 

We dug this photo out of the Steel Rail vaults from around the time of our first gig in Toronto about 20 years ago. That was on the heels of our first album release. Two decades later, we're looking forward to making more music and more memories with our Toronto-area friends. Hope to see you all at the Acoustic Harvest concert on June 2 at St. Nicholas Anglican Church, 1512 Kingston Rd., just east of Warden. Doors at 7:30, concert at 8. Details here.

Hope you can join us in Toronto June 2! 

 

We'll be celebrating the start of summer with a concert in the Acoustic Harvest series in Toronto June 2. (I know it looks like we are celebrating Dave's birthday in this photograph, but we wanted to get into the spirit of things!) (Or spirits, as you can see.)

We'll be previewing new material for our long-rumoured new album, along with some new covers, including one of our favourite Gillian Welch songs, Annabelle.

I hope you can join us. The concert is at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, at St. Nicholas Anglican Church, 1512 Kingston Rd., Toronto (one block east of Warden Ave.) Tickets cost $22 in advance, $25 at the door. For more information, call 416-729-7564 or click here.

 

 

Great to see you all! 

Thanks to our friends in Kitchener for a great evening of music and companionship on April 8. We had an amazing time at the Registry Theatre, one of our favourite venues, as part of the Old Chestnuts Song Circle series. We were delighted to see Jay Linden, who opened for Steel Rail a decade ago when we last performed in Kitchener. Jay's opening set was short but sweet; his albums sold out before we could get our hands on the latest one.
The Steel Rail part of the Registry gig featured a number of new songs slated for the upcoming SR album as well as a tune or two we played the last time around in KW. A fine time was had by all.
Thanks to everyone who made it happen, including Jack and Lori Cole (that's him on the Registry stage, above) and many friends from the Woods music camp, an extraordinary group of musicians and human beings. What a privilege to connect again.
The night before we reconnected with other friends at a house concert in Toronto chez Eve Goldberg and Ellen Long. The vibe was warm and the company divine. We're grateful to the two E's, who presented us in their first-ever house concert.
We're spending the next while focusing on the next Steel Rail album; details soon.
 

Ontario countdown 

A week before our three-day Ontario sortie, Tod, Ellen and Dave spent Saturday afternoon honing the set list for our gigs in Kitchener and Toronto. The result: a lot of new material and some Steel Rail chestnuts in honour of our hosts in Kitchener, the Old Chestnuts Song Circle. (Although those of you who are musicians will know that the set list is never really final until about a minute before the show, and even then....) 
Our Toronto house concert Friday, April 7, is sold out (thank you Eve Goldberg and Ellen Long, our hosts). There are still a few tickets left for our Saturday, April 8, show at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener. We're really looking forward to reconnecting with Jack and Lori Cole and our musical friends in KW next weekend.
In the meantime, here is a look at the green-tea-fuelled set list triage process.
Hope to see some of you next weekend in Ontario.

Reconnecting with friends in southern Ontario in April 

We're delighted to be reconnecting with our friends in Kitchener and Toronto in April. We will be performing a house concert in Toronto on April 7, followed by a show at Kitchener's beautiful Registry Theatre on April 8.
Thanks to Jack Cole and friends at the Old Chestnuts Song Circle for inviting us back to Kitchener; you can buy advance tickets for the show here.

We are also pleased to be performing a house concert in west-central Toronto (the King and Roncesvalles area) the night before. We'll post the details about, but tickets for the April 7 house concert are $20, and reservations are necessary. You can reserve by emailing eve@evegoldberg.com.
Hope to see you there!

Warm vibes on a winter night 

Thanks to everyone who braved the icy streets to come to Le Petit Campus in Montreal last night. A good time was had by everyone we spoke with, including Tod, Ellen and Dave, in spite of Tod's wicked cold and a lost tuner (no points for guessing who lost it.)
Special thanks to Matt and Rebecca Large, whose tireless and loving work brings so much great music to Montrealers every year. Don't miss their Wintergreen Christmas fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 17. Thanks also to Olivier, whose great work at the soundboard made everything sound great.
Tod's sister Trina, who made the trip from Ontario for the show, supplied the photo at the top of this post.
Next step: pre-work on the new Steel Rail album right after Christmas.
Happy holidays, everyone.
 

Still keeping time ... 

What a nice thing to wake up on concert day to hear the local CBC station playing Steel Rail and mentioning our "Christmas-carol-free" show at Le Petit Campus in Montreal tonight. The song: Still Keeping Time, Ellen's lovely waltz-time tribute to her dance-loving parents. Thanks to Sonali Karnick and CBC for supporting local music.
Hope to see you at tonight's show.

Last pre-concert flashback: 1996 video shoot  

As we ramp up for the Dec. 10 show at Le Petit Campus, some historic music from the Steel Rail songbook is being revived. We're not sure this chestnut will make it onto the set list, but here is a 20-year-old photo of the band, with guest fiddler Alex Kehler, during the video shoot for the song A Thousand Miles of Snow. Once we get the technology figured out, we'll post the video itself, directed by Montreal filmmaker George Hargrave.
In the meantime, here's what Tod, Ellen, Dave and Alex looked like under the lights in 1996.

Flashback before our Dec. 10 show 

The venue Le Petit Campus holds some special memories for Steel Rail. The site of our upcoming Dec. 10 concert is also the place we launched our second album, the Road Less Travelled, 17 years ago, on Nov. 28, 1999. Digging through the files, we found this photograph from August 1999. It became one of our press photos for that period. As you'll note, Tod had more hair and Ellen had less that summer.